The Key West man accused of shooting a Monroe County Sheriff’s Office deputy in the chest in an October 2015 firefight on Stock Island has been found mentally incompetent to stand trial.
Judge Wayne Miller ruled at a hearing last Wednesday that Timothy Thomas III was not mentally competent to stand trial. According to records prosecutors and a public defender agreed, without debate, to a mental health expert’s findings.
Last January Thomas threw a chair through a window at the county jail on Stock Island causing $1,300 in damages. A report states that Thomas became irate during a hearing at the jail, but there is no information regarding just what Thomas was angry about. There is an order to send Thomas to Florida State Hospital in Chattahoochee.
Thomas pled not guilty in 2015 to first-degree felony attempted murder on a law enforcement officer. The charge carries a mandatory life imprisonment penalty without the possibility of parole.
Police had been searching for Thomas in connection with an Oct. 5 armed robbery on the 1500 block of Fourth Street that led to the lockdown of nearby Key West High School. On Oct. 24, Thomas and two deputies engaged in crossfire in a residential neighborhood on Stock Island after Thomas led the officers on a high-speed chase. Neighborhood homes and businesses were riddled with bullets during the shootout. One family reported they had been enjoying an outdoor sweet sixteen party at the time and were forced to run for cover to escape being shot.
Deputy Josh Gordon was shot in the chest, but was not seriously injured as he was wearing a bullet-resistant vest. Thomas was shot twice during the exchange and was treated the next day at Lower Keys Medical Center after he surrendered to Key West police officers, who had him surrounded at a house on VonPhister Street in Key West. The officers managed to convince Thomas to come out peaceably.
Thomas also pled not guilty to charges of fleeing or attempting to elude the night of the shootout and possession of a weapon by a convicted felon as well as armed burglary of a structure stemming from the October 25th VonPhister Street standoff. [Thomas was not charged with any involvement in the October 5th Fourth Street armed robbery that set off the chain of events.]
There is no trial date set as yet. Thomas will likely remain in a state hospital until it is determined that he is mentally fit to stand trial.
Click here for previous coverage about the Timothy Thomas case including video of the Stock Island shootout.